In 1998, Jason Scott, a child of the quickly-fading Bulletin Board System (BBS) era in computer communication, checked the then-seemingly-infinite World Wide Web to see what it had to say and show about these single-line online services he had used since the early 1980s. Shocked to find that very little had made it online, he assembled his personal collection of textfiles, archives and memorabilia and began a site called TEXTFILES.COM, intending it to be a living museum of the early days of the general public coming online. From a relatively small collection of 50,000 textfiles, the collection has since grown enormously thanks to many contributions and discovery of lost treasure troves of BBS items. The TEXTFILES.COM archives have since been supplemented throughout the internet by even more vast collections of related material, fulfilling the goal of saving this period of history for future generations.
This collection comprises all the major text-based sets of the TEXTFILES.COM site, as well as a number of bonus archives that were brought into the collection over the years as other sites faded or disappeared. A manifest file is included to browse for filenames, and an interview with the site's proprietor Jason Scott by the Security Justice Podcast Team is also included in MP3 format.
The BBS textfiles in this collection came from hundreds of sources, including Jason Scott's own travels as a teen through short-lived BBSes, to CD-ROMs and archives sent from others. While there will never truly be a way to guarantee the level of completeness or reach of this collection, it is Jason's opinion that this collection now comprises every major textfile that had "legs" on BBSes; that is, that traveled any amount of distance between bulletin board systems and were not limited to a single site or small handful.
As these files were all created in the spirit of free speech, of youth speaking out, and of grappling with the many issues and mysteries of the day, the textfiles should be considered potentially offensive, likely inaccurate, and advocating acts that should not be done.
A huge thanks to the many supporters, be they financial, material, or emotional, through the many years of assembling and maintaining this collection.